The whistleblower behind one of the biggest national security leaks in U.S. history has revealed himself, saying he has “no regrets” about his actions or any potential recriminations he may face for disclosing information about surveillance operations run by the National Security Agency.
Edward Snowden, a former technical assistant for the CIA, revealed himself to be the NSA whistleblower to Britain’s Guardian newspaper in an article published Sunday that also reported his whereabouts as being under Chinese sovereignty.
“I have no intention of hiding who I am because I know I have done nothing wrong,” the 29-year-old Mr. Snowden, currently an employee for Booz Allen Hamilton, told the paper. He has been working at the NSA for the past four years as a contractor for multiple employers, including Booz Allen.
“I really want the focus to be on these documents and the debate which I hope this will trigger among citizens around the globe about what kind of world we want to live in,” he said.
The Guardian and The Washington Post reported last week on the existence of the surveillance program, called PRISM, and its use by the NSA and the FBI for “tapping directly into the central servers of nine leading U.S. Internet companies.”
Director of National Intelligence James Clapper criticized the news media Saturday for a “rush to publish” information based on “reckless” leaks about government surveillance programs.
Reuters reported Saturday that the NSA has formally requested that the Department of Justice launch an investigation into the agency’s leaks.
Mr. Snowden — holed up in a hotel in Hong Kong, according to The Guardian — said he suspects the U.S. will move quickly to try to prosecute him.
“We have got a CIA station just up the road — the consulate here in Hong Kong — and I am sure they are going to be busy for the next week,” he told the paper. “And that is a concern I will live with for the rest of my life, however long that happens to be.”
“My sole motive is to inform the public as to that which is done in their name and that which is done against them,” he also said. “I feel satisfied that this was all worth it. I have no regrets.”